Spending a cold December evening walking around the grounds of a closed castle may not seem like the ideal activity, but when it is transformed by a show of light and sound it certainly changes everything. We headed along to the opening night of the Spectacle of Light at Sudeley Castle to see the historic castle transformed in a way like never before.
Described by creator Nic Beeby as being, "like an art gallery with each section a separate piece of artwork," the event sets out to show off the castle and its grounds in a new way and give visitors a new perspective of the historic site. From the simplicity of the white lights through the forest walkways to the intricate multi-coloured lights set to move in time to Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, the variations in each section created something new for the eyes (& ears) to experience. It was never overwhelming or too much to try and take in, the balance was just right and looked incredibly beautiful.
Coming from a theatre background, Nic Beeby has much experience in working with all aspects of lighting sets and locations. However, as he mentioned on the evening, here there was no need to build and create a set; the castle provided a ready-made set – it just needed 6 miles of cables in order to light it! The lack of generators on the site really added to the atmosphere and with visitor numbers being limited also, a quietness was present across the grounds and made the experience that more intimate and gave a real opportunity to take in the images of the castle against the backdrop of the clear night sky.
There were two areas of the site that stuck out to us as favourites. A pond, frozen over by early December chill, surrounded by a string of fairy lights looked perfect from the first glance. Set in the middle of a small garden the lights created an incredibly pretty, slightly festive, feel and is sure to be a highlight for many who go to visit the castle. Disco balls hanging from a tree may not seem like something that would be overly effective but with lights set around them changing direction every so often, they created a simple yet pretty reflection within the forest area.
The Spectacle of Light is very clever, beautifully created and well thought out event. If you're looking for something different to do with your friends, partner or family on a winter's evening, head along to Sudeley Castle for the experience.
The event runs until December 23rd with tickets available online now.